Owners of Massage Parlors in Wellesley and Revere Arrested in Connection with Human Trafficking, Prostitution
BOSTON – The owners of two massage parlors, one in Wellesley and the other in Revere, have been arrested in connection with human trafficking and prostitution, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
Zhen Lai, 37, of Quincy, and Joseph Girouard, 55, of Revere, were arrested this afternoon without incident by State Police assigned to the AG’s Office and agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance from local police departments. Lai was arrested in Quincy and Girouard was arrested in Somerville. Lai and Girouard are each charged with one count each of Trafficking in Persons for Sexual Servitude and Keeping a House of Ill Fame.
Lai is due to be arraigned tomorrow morning in Dedham District Court and Girouard is due to be arraigned tomorrow morning in Chelsea District Court.
“We allege that these individuals ran two massage parlors that were thinly veiled fronts for prostitution,” said AG Coakley. “Further, these two defendants allegedly profited from sexual services provided to clients by women they employed. We would like to thank HSI and our local police partners for assisting in the investigation and arrests.”
“Today's arrests are the result of the great partnership HSI has with the Massachusetts Attorney General's office and Massachusetts State Police in our unyielding resolve to bring human traffickers to justice," said Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of HSI Boston. "Human trafficking can exist anywhere, as shown with this investigation. HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that those who commit these crimes are held accountable for their actions.”
“This investigation was a model of collaboration and cooperation between investigators from the Wellesley Police Department, HSI and the Attorney General’s Office,” said Chief of the Wellesley Police Department Terrence Cunningham. “Thanks to Attorney General Coakley’s attention to the human trafficking issue and her unwavering determination to bring individuals involved in the exploitation of women to justice, this is not just another prostitution prosecution.”
The arrests are the result of an investigation by State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, in conjunction with agents from HSI and officers from the Wellesley Police Department, into allegations of human trafficking and prostitution at Sun Spa, also known as Sun Studio, in Wellesley and Bodywork in Revere. Authorities allege that Lai and Girouard jointly operated the two massage parlors. During the course of the investigation, authorities developed evidence indicating that these massage parlors were allegedly offering sexual activity between masseuses employed by Lai and Girouard and their clients in exchange for cash that was characterized as “tips”. Investigation also revealed that Lai and Girouard advertised the two spas on websites known to advertise prostitution.
This afternoon, State Police officers assigned to the AG’s Office, HSI agents, and local law enforcement officers executed search warrants at the two massage parlors. Following the execution of the search warrants, Lai was arrested in Quincy and Girouard was arrested in Somerville. Lai is due to be arraigned tomorrow morning in Dedham District Court and Girouard is due to be arraigned tomorrow morning in Chelsea District Court.
These arrests are part of the AG’s second human trafficking case under the new human trafficking law in Massachusetts, which went into effect on February 19.
The investigation remains ongoing.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Deb Bercovitch, who handles human trafficking prosecutions within the AG’s Enterprise and Major Crimes Division, with assistance from Investigator Taylor Glynn of AG Coakley’s Financial Investigations Division. Victim Witness Advocate Nikki Antonucci of the AG’s Victim Services Division is also assisting in the case. The investigation was conducted by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation, and investigators from AG Coakley’s Computer Forensics Lab. Boston, Wellesley, Revere, Quincy, Kingston, and Malden Police Departments also assisted in the case.